About an hour west of Shanghai, Suzhou is an ancient town that is marketed to tourists as the “Venice of the Orient”, which is a bit of an exaggeration, but nonetheless it is has some quaint canals and pleasant streets. The city feels much larger that it appears on the map, with a population of about 4 million people, and a history of about 2,500 years, it is a culturally rich and charming little town. Most cities have the taller high rise buildings at the center of the city, but Suzhou is quite the opposite. The city center is a well preserved historical area, while the business district and shopping malls are near the western edge of the city. I spent the first afternoon walking around the Ping Jiang district where most of the canals and tiny side streets are tangled together to form some eloquent intersections and bridge crossings that ever so slightly evocative of Venetian streets.